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Grounds Guys Franchise

Discussion in 'Franchising' started by sharpcuts, Oct 26, 2011.

  1. littledaveslandscape

    littledaveslandscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    Grounds guys wasn't a fit for us. I had a guy named Joseph that contacted me to come check them out. It was a fun trip to visit a new part of the US but that's about all I got out of it. I got down there and it is cool to listen to the future they say you can have that's unrealistic as hell. I started my company 11 years ago and last year I got to a point where I was fed up and wanted to throw it away. I felt like the hand I was delt was the worst ever. I felt alone and then they called and I felt a ray of hope. Honestly just going listening to a bunch of idiots that had no past experience with landscaping made me realize that I was doing ok. It was sort of a reality check for me. While I was in Waco I met a good guy named Sam. His wife was pregnant and he was a ft fireman and he wanted to brand his company and blah blah. I told him he better think good and hard because it's a life decision if you work for the money you have. It may be different if someone gave you money and was like here's a franchise go run it. Life simply isn't that easy. So Sam and I kept in touch. He bought a franchise.. and I didn't. I would call him to see what his systems were about that they talked about that were so secretive. Nothing to special. If you know your company worth and if you know how to break down what YOU need to make to survive and make a profit you can make it. I think people think there is a magic recipe and they have only been misled. This guy named Joseph was my franchise consultant. You could tell he needed to sell franchises because he was worse then a car salesman. I got back home and he blew me up everyday. They got my financials and seen that my company actually made good money so of course they preyed on me. They were like vulchers. Sam called me down in the dumps and he said he was 88,000 dollars in credit card debt for the franchise and other fees to go along. They never once spoke of those numbers when I went. I was blew away. He had equipment and he had a business.., so that much money in debt blew me away. I haven't spoke with him in a while but last year at this time he was hurting and he had a new born baby. I couldn't imagine. I've got debt but i pay on that debt and that **** is mine. No one makes money off my company except myself and my workers. I wouldn't recommend them to anyone. I caught them lying to me when I asked about the fees and they gave me a few franchisees to call. I called them and obviously the GG owner Dwyer group gives these people money to fill people full of ****. I call the list and those people were telling me how great it was and then I called about 30 Franchisees across the US and every damn one of them said don't do it. So that's my two cents. I say give it a try on your own because you sell your lively hood to a bunch of clowns in Texas that have no clue about landscaping. They hire people that have not one damn clue about what a day in the life of a landscaper is about. So take it for what it's worth but I wouldn't and I didn't.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
    zlandman, hort101 and PTP like this.
  2. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 20,454

    Interesting, there was a GG franchise here in GR for a couple years. Haven't seen them lately so I checked the GG website, no longer listed.

    Kinda tells me something.
    97BlackDiesel likes this.
  3. RonWin

    RonWin LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 698

    No one will work harder, more hours, act with more care to your equipmemt and customers than the owner of the business themself. A franchise doesnt care about any of that as long as you are sending them their cut of the profit. No successful person wakes up one day amd decides to give up not only equity in their business but also the quality of professionalism that and dedicatiom that got them there in the first place. Dont let scumbag middle men take from you. Arent you disgusted enough with the telemarketers that call you to tell you that youre qualified for a business loan//subscriber to a company that will find you clients? Its the same dmn thing with these franchises. Just tell em to get bent.
    kabrac likes this.
  4. MeierLawnCare

    MeierLawnCare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    They were calling me atleast once a week for the last 2 years...even after I told the guy I didn't need help, I can grow as fast as I want or need to, and that I didn't have any desire to do business with or even hear from them again. They kept calling until they caught me on a bad day and I really chewed his @$$ lol...For the life of me I will never understand why people even listen to their pitch! I make plenty of money, and I have no desire to share it with some people who call here telling me how much I need them. I mean really, if I needed you, I would have called YOU, not the other way around. If you bought a vacuum from the door to door guy you'd be getting a better deal...because you're guaranteed to need one eventually LMAO!
    hort101 likes this.
  5. PTP

    PTP LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Messages: 1,402

    Dave, (I presume that's your name) you are right.

    You need to think really hard about this decision because it is a one way door. Right now, when your accountant is sloppy, you can get a new one. When your dealer doesn't work with you, you can find another dealer. When your software doesn't meet your needs, you can upgrade. But what happens when you can't? What if the software doesn't work properly but you can't fix it and you are stuck paying a premium for it? What if that great advertising campaign doesn't bring in leads but you have to continue to pay for it anyways? What if you give away some of the control of your business but you still have the same problems as before? If you are not absolutely sure that you are getting what you are paying for, you are probably buying nothing more than the dreams in your own head.

    Here is an idea. Hire a business consultant. They are far cheaper and you still maintain control of the business and the profits as well.

    Yes, I did it. Yes, I regret it.
  6. PicturePerfectLawns

    PicturePerfectLawns Banned
    Messages: 3,845

    I don't have any first hand advice to give you, but I can give you some second hand advice. I bidded against Brickman for a long time, and now I'm in a new state where "US Lawns" just started up. They started with one truck and went to four trucks.I pass by their shop daily, 3 trucks sit parked outside, one working. I continue to laugh at the guy that paid 100k to a franchise, every time I pass his truck I can't help myself, but laughing at the dork. I'd rather not pay someone for a name. Apparently, they did land him some jobs because of the "name." He got one of the biggest contracts in town, next year he will be out-bidded and won't be able to compete with the bid, because of his franchise fee.
  7. PTP

    PTP LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Messages: 1,402

    That is very true. I am not in that position myself but I have known of other guys who put it all on the line to make the business work and then it didn't. When you finance your franchise territory, finance new equipment, finance a new truck, but then you can't get the jobs that you were expecting or you can't find/keep the labor you need or that big contract gets canceled, that's pretty much it for you.

    Why do people do that? They have dreams in their head that don't necessarily coincide with reality. They think that the franchise is a kind of fool proof method to build a business but it's not - especially in this business. Yes, franchises are statistically more successful than other startups but when you do fail, it hurts twice as bad.
    zlandman and hort101 like this.

    MIDWESTPRO LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    I have read through many of the comments on here and felt compelled to tell a different story from the inside looking out instead of on the outside looking in. I too was asking the question almost four years ago on whether to franchise or go it alone. Either way, I wanted out of my career and wanted to be in the landscaping industry. I went through all the same emotions. "Do they just want my money" being the main one and close behind it "is this legit". That being said, I decided to franchise. Now, keep this in mind. If you can look at the bigger picture this will all start to make sense.
    1. I had no experience in running a business or working in the private sector.
    2. How would I make this work having a family and needing to support them?
    When I answered these questions I realized that franchising is really not about the specific business you do. Its about having the BUSINESS SYSTEMS in place to run a successful business. Too often, I read comments saying they want this, they want that. Many times this is followed with opinions of people who may not even be right for a franchise. And finally, some people just don't WANT to franchise. And that is okay. I'm not familiar with any franchise brand that has aspirations to take over the world. Just like any business, they have a select market of people they want to reach. You may be one.
    If franchising is so bad, why is it that we, the same people on this thread, use franchised services on a daily and repeat basis? From fast food, to sit down restaurants, to convenience stores, automotive shops, and hotels. There is a reason. These brands are part of a chain and obviously there is some part of each of us that realizes these brands come with standards and we know what to expect when we walk through the doors. That's natural and normal. ITS WHY FRANCHISING WORKS for those that want to partake. And no, it is not for everyone. You don't see people franchising that want to remain small. It is a concept more for the franchisee or person wanting to go big or go home.
    I know for me, I started with a truck, trailer, and one lawn mower. I had minimal experience mowing, no experience running a business, and had no idea what the heck I was doing. Today, I employ 15 people and we do everything from irrigation installation to running mowing crews. I have done this in under four years, and have HAD to use The Grounds Guys systems to do it because I don't know any other way. I started with no money, had no rich family member investing in me, and have worked and clawed my way up. And it has worked well for me. But I will tell you the secret. Instead of looking to blame government regulations, market conditions, employee issues, or any other number of issues that come up daily, I have chosen to look to MYSELF to look at issues and decide how to move past them. I'm never looking at how to accept problems, I'm looking at how to resolve them. And I push forward all the time regardless of what gets thrown my way. There is a reason many people never achieve theirs goals in life. They spend way too much time insulating themselves from problems they could solve themselves but honestly just don't have the motivation to do. I would steer anyone in the direction of this franchise business model. Is it perfect? No. Is it solid? Yes, IF YOU EXECUTE. I work on problems every day and some do not go away quickly. Think to yourself for a minute. If being a successful business owner were easy, everyone would be multi millionare owners. The reason that is not real is some people do not have those dreams. Others try and get tired. For those that persevere, there is a reward for a lifetime of building something the right way. The one thing that I like the most about being a GG franchisee is customers know I have insurance, they like having fully uniformed people and equipment at their residence or business. Is it important to all people...no. But that is the type of customer GG is looking for. There is plenty of room in this industry for all types of landscape companies with different priorities and different business models. Maybe yours is different. I just know what it has done for me and after reading some of the responses felt compelled to tell my own story, whatever that is worth. Maybe someone reading this will benefit from the information or my opinion.
  9. Mike Blevins

    Mike Blevins LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,396

    Well said MIDWESTPRO,
  10. jlinannapolis

    jlinannapolis LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Today is going to be a quick reply, this site was pointed out about the Grounds Guys to me today and i want to say, that i have been a busines owner for over 15 years, i have owned 8 variuouse landscaping companies. some i sold when i was young and some i had to close becuase of things that will be explained later. i have grown the largest company to a little over $2 million. that was as big as i could take it on my own. I was the companiy. i worked 85-100 hours a week, sacrificed my wife, family and many other things. I have no formal schooling or training but i can build yo almost anything. When it came to money i could produce alot of it but at the end of the year i didnt have much left. I was phoned by the GG about 4 1/2 years ago and at first i traeted them like any other sales person but there was two key words they said to me... legacy and culture. I was recently at a conference and heard those key words. I took their calls finaly and eneded up purchasing a territory then shortly there after i bought another territory that wasnt following the systems. You do have to drink the kool aid to an extent but you definitly have to listen and work the systems. I have two companies today, the GG which runs my minatenance and a design build firm. GG helps me with both and both feed one another. Today i am looking at revenues well over $3m, i have hired and are developing management staff and my hope is by the close of 2017 i will ahve the ability to be an absentee owner (not likely i will walk away becuase i like to work) I also turned my first larger profit year last year. It has beeen a lot of work and a lot of humbing myself to get thsi point. If you want more detail leave a couple questions and i will do my best to share more.

    One last thought. those that have failed at franchising i am sorry, it is not for everyone becuase i do have to realy humble yourself and sometimes you dont always get the best and most attention but if you work hard and demand what you pay for you can and will be succesful.

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